State Provides Funding For Easement to Protect SMCM from Encroachment by 196-Acre Housing Development - Southern Maryland Headline News

State Provides Funding For Easement to Protect SMCM from Encroachment by 196-Acre Housing Development

Permanent Forest Conservation Easement to Preserve Scenic Entrance to SMCM along MD 5

ANNAPOLIS - Emphasizing the value of historic preservation, Governor Martin O'Malley has committed $638,500 in Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) funds to purchase a 14-acre parcel of land that encompasses more than 2,400 feet of frontage along MD 5 (Point Lookout Road). The acquisition provides a 300-foot deep forested buffer along MD 5 for the purpose of preserving the scenic view shed at the entrance to the St. Mary's City National Historic Landmark Districta route noted for its beautifully wooded scenery. The parcel that will be preserved is adjacent to a 196-acre subdivision that is planned as a housing development.

"St. Mary's City is a key part of our nation's past, and it deserves our respect as living history," said Governor O'Malley. "Now the beautiful wooded entrance to this historic area can be preserved forever so that visitors can experience it just as our ancestors did."

Jack Russell, President At Large, Board of County Commissioners, St. Mary's County, expressed praise for the preservation plan, saying: "We're always concerned about balance when it comes to development. I'm pleased that so many people were concerned about protecting the beauty of St. Mary's."

The remainder of the total cost of the project, which is not currently known, will be funded by St. Mary's College of Maryland. The College is still in negotiations with the land owner regarding the final cost of the easement.

The State contribution to this and similar projects is made possible through the Transportation Enhancement Program, which funds non-traditional, community-based transportation-related projects. The Governor determines which projects qualify for funding based on need and potential benefit to the public. Grants approved so far in 2007 total $11.3 million. The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration oversees the federal program, which has awarded more than $173 million for 244 projects in Maryland since TEP began in 1991.

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